Leaders forging strategy for safer Idaho highways

Idaho’s goal of being the safest transportation system in the country requires strategy, leadership and collaboration. ITD’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) moved closer to that goal Tuesday, as the Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) emphasis group leaders and OHS grant managers met to prepare for the a Nov. 29 workshop.

The OHS has identified 11 safety emphasis areas, based on crash data and associated economic costs. For each emphasis group, safety advocates work together to develop strategies and find solutions to help eliminate traffic deaths and injuries.

“Our goal today was to work with leaders of those groups to prepare for the November workshop. We’re asking them to generate fresh thinking and creative strategies in support of ‘Toward Zero Deaths, Every Life Counts’ – the foundational concept upon which the SHSP is built,” said ITD Highway Safety Manager Brent Jennings.

Many crashes relate to choices, and to what Jennings calls the “DIA principle” – driving –Distracted, Impaired or Aggressively.

“The charge before us is to implement strategies that help Idaho’s citizens arrive safely at their destination,” Jennings said. “Everyone has a role to play in traffic safety, and we all can make a positive difference. Our safety partners help lead the way.”

Developed in 2005 and last updated in 2009, the SHSP includes strategies to address behaviors, infrastructure improvements and enforcement countermeasures to help eliminate crashes, traffic deaths, serious injuries and economic losses associated with preventable traffic crashes.

The goal is to reflect current safety issues and solutions in the next SHSP update.
Emphasis areas consist of:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Safety restraints
  • Impaired driving
  • Vulnerable users (mature drivers and bicyclists/pedestrians)
  • Youthful drivers
  • Commercial motor vehicles
  • Motorcyclists
  • Lane-departure crashes
  • Intersection crashes, and
  • Emergency response 

Programs implemented by the groups include "Click It, Don’t Risk It!" to improve seatbelt use; "Put It Down" to counter distracted driving and idahoteendriving.org to address teen driving behaviors.

Published 10-26-2012